“My days are out of control,” I lamented to my pastor.

by Nathan Bechtold

Organization and structure aren’t my strengths; I like to think I’m the creative type. And the result is that, with three young children, two growing businesses, and heavy involvement in church, the days, weeks, and months seem to race by. Major tasks are often sidelined by minor-but-urgent-feeling distractions. I wasn’t even accomplishing many of my secondary, weekly and monthly goals, much less my more meta, #lifegoals. The days fly by, and I watch the seasons change with a nagging fear that suddenly my children will be grown and I’ll be middle aged and I won’t have done the things that actually mattered. I was tired of accidental days.

Nathan Learning To Wakesurf

He suggested I try a daily planner (the Full Focus Planner, if you’re interested): one that keeps my primary and secondary goals at the forefront and helps me plan my days around actually getting them done. First step: accept that I can not do everything. Second step: decide what matters and then do it.

One of my quarterly goals was a task of true luxury: one I knew I’d never accomplish in this busy season of life unless I forced the issue. I wanted to learn to wake surf.

I’ve never been much of a high-intensity, high-impact, extreme sports guy. I learned to waterski in my late-teens after ample frustration, and now in my mid-30s, I wasn’t sure I wanted to learn a sport like wakeboarding, where 360s and backflips seem mandatory. But wake surfing, I’d been told, is low-impact and easy to learn. So I set it as a goal. I had no wakeboard boat or gear, and very little free time, but I was going to make this happen. So in September on the quiet waters of Linn Creek Cove I learned to wakesurf behind a Supra driven by a dude who goes by “Blake the Wake.”

Time ran out before I could quite get the hang of actually surfing the wave: I was still being intermittently pulled by the boat, as the rope went slack, then taut, then slack again. Kate was home with the kids and waiting on me for dinner. But the experience was exhilarating, nonetheless. I’d learned a new skill, relatively quickly, and now had caught the bug. I’m determined to surf more in 2020.

The exhilaration also came from actually having done it: it was the first major goal in my Full Focus Planner that I’d actually accomplished. I decided I wanted something, and I’d worked hard to make it happen. I’m learning with the automatically busy pace of life, the things that matter most won’t happen by accident. Many who crave time on the Lake know this well: they want a week (or weekend) together, with friends or family, on the water. This year, resolve to make it happen as often as you can. The years fly by. Kids—so I’m told—and grandkids grow old too fast. And special days on the Lake are when love is fostered and life-long memories are made.

So make an extra trip to the Lake this summer. And if you haven’t yet, give wakesurfing a shot.